Scobleizer Weblog

Today's Stuff Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Bloglines is claiming to be tracking four million weblogs. Whew. It's a news aggregator that runs on a server so you can see your favorite blogs from anywhere.

Kaye Trammell: Thou shalt not blog that. About censorship in the classroom. Heh, it is no different here in the corporate world. I find I'm censoring myself all the time.

Oh, cool. Larry O'Brien is working on blogging with ink on a Tablet PC. Can't wait to see someone nail this! Sign me up for the beta!

SF Gate columnist Mark Morford: Lick me, I'm a Macintosh.

Interesting rant about Apple's attention to design.

My friend Chris Coulter IM'd me about GoScreen 4.0, which is a virtual desktop manager for Microsoft Windows. It is the first utility of its kind, which is specifically optimized for Tablet PC. Translation: it makes the small screen size of most Tablets more useful. With goScreen one can expand their computerís desktop space by an order of magnitude by creating up to 40 virtual screen pages - so, it is possible to run each application, or group of applications, on a separate screen).

Jupiter Media's Michael Gartenberg talks about Sonic PrimeTime, the first app designed for the Media Center PC. PrimeTime makes it fast and easy to find and select your favorite shows and burn them onto DVDs or Video CDs with just a few clicks of the Media Centerís remote control.

Chris Brumme is one of the top architects inside Microsoft (he works on the .NET Framework). He also writes the longest and most technical weblog posts I've ever seen. Today's is 11,200 words and covers the exception model.

CamFrog claims to be better than other video chat software. Dang, I have a lot of software to try out this weekend.

Canaux claims to have the ultimate intranet browser for the Tablet PC (scroll to bottom of page).

On one of the mailing lists I belong to people have been talking about places to get your digital pictures printed. Consensus is that Costco's online is the best for the price. Anyone disagree?

Oh, Microsoft launched Microsoft Media Center yesterday. I was planning on going to the launch, but work intervened. Bummer.

Clemens talks about Das Blog's latest plans. He says that BlogX is being put to bed and rolled into the Das Blog project. I can't wait to try out Das Blog on my internal weblog.

Software Development Times: Java Eye for the .NET Guy.

Oh, I've gotta try Einstein Software's Tablet Enhancements for Outlook.

I've been told that the PDC is very close to being sold out. Do NOT wait until the last minute to get your ticket or you might find that you're not able to come. Also, I'm hearing that hotels are full up. Good luck out there, it's gonna be a wild party.

Here's a good example of conversational marketing at work.

For the past few weeks Microsoft has been getting slammed on security. So, I've been listening to the customers. Trying to learn what the real concerns are. Trying to learn where our customers are having troubles. And, yes, even challenging them with open and frank conversation (not to mention they've been challenging me).

One thing I keep hearing is "fix the problems in XP before going onto Longhorn."

I (and other webloggers here) give that feedback to the people who are working on the problem. There are several mailing lists internally with thousands of Microsoft employees -- people who are trying to fix the security problems across our OS and our products -- on them. Anytime I meet with a customer who gives me new information, I pass that along. I explain to execs just how dire the problem is and just how much heck those of us who deal with customers are hearing (not to mention several execs say they regularly read the employee weblogs that are being done). I tell them about my experiences answering tech support phones and talking with real customers. I tell them about feedback from people who are "Microsoft haters" and who take the time to read hundreds of posts and take us to task. Believe me, I'm getting a lot of feedback from you all that's being heard all over Microsoft.

Then, internally, I've been doing a lot of reading and talking to folks on security. I needed to understand the history. The choices that were made that lead us to this place. Why the holes were missed. What we're doing about them.

Yesterday I had a couple of conversations with guys who are working on this problem (they didn't know I was gonna weblog about the conversations, so I'd rather not name them). They explained to me the problems, why they are so hard to miss, why the functionality was turned on in the first place, and the tradeoffs that'll be made to fix the problems.

Definitely the execs are listening to the "fix XP first" issue.

Two problems, no matter what we do:

1) Microsoft has no credibility on the security issue. We overpromised last time around and people won't believe us when we make our announcements. I don't know how to get around this issue, except by weblogging from the heart and being absolutely as transparent as possible on the issue.

2) Even though we're planning extensive changes to protect our customers, there's no way I (or anyone here at Microsoft) can guarantee that the changes being proposed are enough to completely protect systems. So, next time around we need to clearly explain to people why the changes are being made, but stay away from promising anything. We need to re-earn our customer's trust and it won't be done quickly.

So, back to the point: "is it smart to let webloggers talk about your business openly with customers?" Well, I believe it is. For one, our execs get better feedback due to conversational marketing efforts (er, weblogs). For two, our customers get better information so they can give even better feedback and make future product plans based on real information rather than guesses and rumors.

Plus, my friends and family say they believe what I say a lot more than when Microsoft's PR says something. If that ends up helping our customers, I think it's a HUGE win.

Guardian: Why Blogs could be bad for business.

Hey, if your employees make you think "they are gonna cost me money" maybe you have the wrong employees!!!

I think this view (that weblogs are gonna be bad for my business) is just the stupidest viewpoint. It's like telling someone who works on a counter "don't talk to the customers because you might get us in a lawsuit, OK?"

I really am bummed that I'm not going to BloggerCon. Lots of my friends are going.

Jeff Sandquist wants us to turn our entire world PDC yellow. Heh. Here's the official PDC desktop on his weblog.

Dang, Jeff keeps such a clean desktop.

OK, I tested out the PDC Moblog (for "MObile weBLOG") and it rocks. Just email your picture in, and it gets posted almost immediately. Thanks to Text America for doing this. For free.

Now that I can post pictures, what would you like to see?

By the way, did you see the rumors and photos of a new Microsoft SmartPhone that has a camera built in? Oh, I would do almost anything to get one of these!

Michael Hanscom critiques the HTML on the new Longhorn Blogs. One thing: these blogs are NOT being done by Microsoft. They were done by 21-year-old Robert McLaws. For free. Using tools developed by Scott Watermasyk. For free. And design by Paul Alexander. For free. Who said our community is lame?

By the way, McLaws tells me that right now the aggregator page at can only display weblogs that are hosted by him. But, that will change. He's working on a way for any blogger to start a "Longhorn category" that'll publish to the aggregator.

If you have anything Longhorn that you'd like to have displayed on the aggregator, just drop me an email and I'll make it happen.

OK, the blog door is open! Man has it been a busy week. Today I got a new title: "the PDC Information Minister." I went into a meeting thinking I was just gonna find out how I was going to get information up on the screens at the PDC, but then they all turned to me and said "do you wanna be the hub of all of the news and content at the PDC?" Or something like that. "OK."

So, I'll be watching the weblogs even more carefully than in the past for news that should be given to PDC attendees.

Of course, one of my coworkers turned to me and started calling me "PDC Bob" after the Iraqi Information Minister. Heh.